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THE TAS K.

BOOK III.

THE GARDEN.

As

one who, long in thickets and in brakes Entangled, winds now this way and now that His devious course uncertain, seeking home; Or, having long in miry ways been foil'd And fore discomfited, from Nough to Nough Plunging and half despairing of escape ; If chance at length he find a greensward smooth And faithful to the foot, his spirits rise, He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting steed, And winds his way with pleasure and with ease; So I, designing other themes, and callid T'adorn the Sofa with eulogium due, To tell its flumbers, and to paint its dreams,

Have rambled wide. In country, city, seat
Of academic fame (howe'er deservod),
Long held, and scarcely disengag'd at last.
But now, with pleasant pace, a cleanlier road
I mean to tread. I feel myself at large,
Courageous and refresh'd for future toil,
If toil await me, or if dangers new.

Since pulpits fail, and sounding boards reflect Most part an empty ineffectual sound, What chance that I, to fame so little known, Nor conversant with men or manners much, Should speak to purpose, or with better hope Crack the satiric thong ? 'Twere wiser far For me, enamour'd of sequester'd scenes, And charm'd with rural beauty, to repofe, Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or vine, My languid limbs, when summer sears the plains; Or, when rough winter rages, on the soft And shelter'd Sofa, while the nitrous air Feeds a blue flame, and makes a cheerful hearth; There, undisturbid by folly, and appriz'd How great the danger of disturbing her, To muse in Glence, or at least confine Remarks that gall fo many to the few My partners in retreato Difgust concealed

Is oft-times proof of wisdom, when the fault
Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach.

Domestic happiness, thou only bliss Of Paradise that haft surviv'd the fall! Though few now taste thee unimpair'd and pure, Or, tafting, long enjoy thee ; too infirm, Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets Unmixt with drops of bitter, which neglect Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup. Thou art the nurse of virtue-in thine arms She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is, Heav'n-born, and destin'd to the skies again. Thou art not known where pleasure is ador’d, That reeling goddess with the zoneless wais. And wand'ring eyes, still leaning on the arm Of novelty, her fickle frail support; For thou art meek and constant, hating change, And finding, in the calm of truth-tried love, Joys that her stormy raptures never yield. Forsaking thee, what shipwreck have we made Of honour, dignity, and fair renown! Till prostitution elbows us aside In all our crowded streets; and senates seem Conven'd for purposes of empire less Than to release th' adultress from her bond,

E

VOL. II.

Th' adultress! what a theme for angry verse!
What provocation to th'indignant heart
That feels for injur'd love! but I disdain
The nauseous talk to paint her as she is,
Cruel, abandon'd, glorying in her shame!
No :--- let her pass, and, chariotted along
In guilty splendour, shake the public ways;
The frequency of crimes has walh'd them white !
And verse of mine shall never brand the wretch,
Whom matrons now, of character unsmirch’d,
And chaste themselves, are not asham'd to own,
Virtue and vice had bound'ries in old time,
Not to be pass’d : and the, that had renounc'd
Her sex's honour, was renounc'd herself
By all that priz'd it; not for prud'ry's fake,
But dignity's, resentful of the wrong.
'Twas hard, perhaps, on here and there a waif,
Defirous to return, and not receiv'd;
But was an wholesome rigour in the main,
And taught th' unblemish'd to preserve with care
That purity, whose loss was loss of all.
Men, too, were nice in honour in those days,
And judg’d offenders well. Then he that sharp'd,
And pocketted a prize by fraud obtain'd,
Was mark'd and shunn'd as odious. He that fold
His country, or was slack when the requir'd

His ev'ry nerve in action and at stretch, Paid with the blood that he had bafely spar'd, The price of his default. But now-yes, now We are become so candid and so fair, So lib'ral in construction, and so rich In Christian charity, (good-natur'd age !) That they are safe, finners of either sex, Transgress what laws they may. Well dress'd, well-bred, Well equipag'd, is ticket good enough To pass us readily through ev'ry door. Hypocrisy, deteft her as we may, (And no man's hatred ever wrong'd her yet) May claim this merit ftill-that she admits The worth of what she mimics with such care, And thus gives virtue indirect applause ; But she has burnt her mask, not needed here, Where vice has such allowance, that her shifts And specious semblances have lost their use.

I was a stricken deer, that left the herd
Long fince; with many an arrow deep infixt,
My panting side was chargd, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in diftant shades.
There was I found by one who had himself
Been hurt by th' archers. In his fide he bore,
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars.

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